|Publication number||US8195952 B2|
|Application number||US 11/011,869|
|Publication date||Jun 5, 2012|
|Filing date||Dec 14, 2004|
|Priority date||Dec 14, 2004|
|Also published as||CN1791018A, CN100399750C, US8621229, US8914644, US20060129831, US20120167215, US20140013393, US20150040191|
|Publication number||011869, 11011869, US 8195952 B2, US 8195952B2, US-B2-8195952, US8195952 B2, US8195952B2|
|Inventors||Dmitry Andreev, Galina Grunin, Gregory Vilshansky|
|Original Assignee||International Business Machines Corporation|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (21), Non-Patent Citations (1), Referenced by (5), Classifications (10), Legal Events (1)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
The invention generally relates to a system and method for identifying a computer that may be involved in an attack on a network application and, more particularly, to a system and method to accumulate identifying characteristics of a computer prior to a login to the network application.
The identification of a computer that has attacked a business or governmental network application may be of paramount importance for prevention of unauthorized attacks and for law enforcement purposes, if required. Computer attacks with intentions to access or destroy information, whether the information is secured or not, continues to be a major issue for computerized operations.
Controlling access to databases or services typically includes levels of password security or authentication procedures to exclude unauthorized access. However, even with these security measures, attacks are frequently successful. Once an attack has occurred, reconstructing information related to the intrusion may be then difficult, if not impossible.
In a situation when the attack may be aimed at gaining access to the system, as opposed to “denial of service” type of attack, identification of the attacker may be impeded by at least the following circumstances:
(i) the fact that immediately before attempting the attack, when the login screen is requested and displayed, the potential intruder may not be distinguished from the legitimate application user, and
(ii) at the moment when the system may be able to classify the access attempt as being a possible attack, rather than a legitimate login, the attacker often has already been warned, e.g., by an “Invalid userID” or “Invalid Password” message. The attacker may be either gone or on a higher alert level, so it may be too late to take steps aimed at identifying the attacking computer.
Currently, capturing identifying information of a potential intruder, before or concurrent with a network access, does not exist. If such identifying information and specific connection related data were to be accumulated, stored and catalogued then a basis for reconstructing the identity of an attacker may be possible. Once identifying information has been captured, legal recourse may be more easily accomplished.
In an aspect of the invention, a method is provided for facilitating identification in a network. The method comprises the steps of processing a login to an application only after capturing configuration data of a computer performing the login, recalling the configuration data and matching at least portions of the recalled configuration data to corresponding portions of subsequent captured configuration data to establish whether the recalled configuration data and the subsequent captured configuration data are both derived from the computer.
In another aspect of the invention, a system for facilitating attacker identification in a network is provided. The system comprises at least one component to process a login to an application only after capturing configuration data of a computer performing the login, recall the configuration data and match at least portions of the recalled configuration data to corresponding portions of subsequent captured configuration data to establish whether the recalled configuration data and the subsequent captured configuration data are both derived from the computer.
In another aspect of the invention, a computer program product is provided comprising a computer usable medium having readable program code embodied in the medium, the computer program product includes at least one component to process a login to an application only after capturing configuration data of a computer performing the login, recall the configuration data and match at least portions of the recalled configuration data to corresponding portions of subsequent captured configuration data to establish whether the recalled configuration data and the subsequent captured configuration data are both derived from the computer.
This invention is directed to a system and method for capturing computer information prior to processing a login of a user to a network based application or system. Based on the captured information, recourse may be taken if any illicit activity during or after login is detected. The invention may provide increased security aspects for business applications which are regarded as being security sensitive. This may be analogous to security arrangements applicable to human visitors of high-security facilities, e.g., airports, where all the customers consent to bag and personal search as a condition of accessing the departure zone.
The components 100 also include server 115 which may be more than one server (1-N) and represents a platform that serves one or more applications 130 to users. The applications may be of various types such as, for example, financial, ordering, searching, information retrieval, or the like. The server 115 may be in communication with the database 120, which may be more than one database (1-N), for storing applications and/or for storing information collected by components of the invention. Also included is a security module 125, generally known as “hostage.exe” which may also be resident, at least in part, on server 115 and which may be downloaded to the PC 105 and executed when the PC 105 accesses an application on the network 110. The security program 125 may store collected user information in database 120, or similar database. The security module is typically an executable module (e.g., compiled C program, or the like) capable of running on a client platform (e.g., WINDOWS®, LINUX®, or the like). Additionally, the applications and security module 125 may be served by different servers, as appropriate. As such, the components 100 are meant to be illustrative and not limited to any particular topology or configuration.
Further, the security module may take on various forms for use by networks, applications, or systems as appropriate for the specific environment of use, including browser operations. According to the system of method of the invention, the login screen may now be deferred, and instead, the network and/or application may now require the user at PC 105 to consent to downloading and running executable security module 125 (i.e., hostage.exe).
Legitimate users of a network application should not have any issues or concerns with approving the execution of the security module. Non-legitimate users may decline to proceed or choose to proceed with risk of detection.
If, however, approval is received, then at step 320, the security application may be downloaded from a network server to the user's computer. At step 325, the security application executes and collects various attributes that may be associated with the computer. These attributes, when assessed as a composite, may provide a unique description of the user's computer. Often, no two computers have exactly the same attributes or configurations. This configuration information may include any readable or detectable setting, device, assignment, version, component or data element that may be present or associated with the computer. This may also include hardware and software configurations available from the operating system registry, e.g., WINDOWS® Registry which may, for example, include information from HARDWARE, SOFTWARE and SYSTEM subtrees under HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE. Also, operating system IDs such as WINDOWS® product ID from the Registry: HKEYLOCAL_MACHINE-SOFTWARE-Microsoft-Windows -Product ID may also be collected. Also collected may be any of the following WINDOWS® IP configuration data for the computer as return by, for example, “ipconfig/all command”:  (i) Host name,  (ii) Primary directory name service (DNS) suffix, and  (iii) for every Ethernet adapter in the computer:  Any connection-specific DNS suffix,  Any description of the adapter,  Any physical Address of the adapter,  Any IP address of the adapter,  Any subnet mask assigned to the adapter,  Any default gateway assigned to the adapter,  Any Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol DHCP Server(s) assigned to the adapter, and  Any Directory Number Service (DNS) Server(s) assigned to the adapter.
At step 330, the collected information may be returned to the application server or other designated destination for cataloging and storage in a database with a date stamp of the security check. At step 335, once the computer information has been collected, a login screen may be presented to the user to proceed with typical login procedures (e.g., userID and password authentication) for the requested application.
At step 415, a check may be made as to whether a modem is configured on the user's computer. If so, then at step 418, the security module attempts to dial a pre-determined number, for example “800,” “877,” “866,” “900,” or other pre-determined number. When the call is successfully placed and answered at a corresponding security call reception application also provided by the invention, such as an application running on server 115 or other location as determined by the application service provider, any received caller-ID information (i.e., as commonly provided by the telephone network to the called party) associated with the telephone line used by the modem in computer 105, is associated with the security module instance running at the user computer 105 and stored. This caller-ID reference information is correlated, time stamped and stored for later retrieval, as necessary. This caller-ID information may typically provide physical location information (e.g., from records of the telephone company) of the user's computer 105. If the modem call is successful or if the modem call cannot be established, processing continues with step 420.
If, however, there is no modem, or the call is successfully placed, then at step 420, the user's computer configuration information may be captured for composing a “computer-print” of the user's computer for later identification of the computer, if necessary. This configuration information may include, for example, any Host information and/or primary DNS information which may reflect assignments (potentially unique at least to a certain degree) that this computer may have. At step 425, configuration and parameter information associated with every Ethernet adapter may be captured as part of the configuration information. This may include for each Ethernet adapter any assigned connection-specific DNS suffixes, physical addresses, subnet masks, gateway defaults, DHCP and DNS servers, or the like.
At step 430, a route to a host on the Internet may be captured as part of the configuration information. Route data may provide, at least to a certain degree, unique identification of the user's computer. For example, if it can be demonstrated that the route data captured during a security check is the same route information of a computer involved in a later investigation, then it may be possible to establish that the same computer was involved in both situations.
Further, any IP addresses, such as returned by a tracert-d command, may be captured as part of the configuration information and may include addresses to routers and/or addresses that may be within private IP ranges (e.g., 10.0.0.1; 192.168.1.1; or 172.16.1.1). This IP address information may be in use by an enterprise or other Internet Service Providers (ISP) and may provide additional unique configuration information regarding the user's network topology.
At step 435, registry information on the user's computer may be acquired such as WINDOWS® Registry and SYSTEM subtrees (e.g., under HKey_Local_machine) to be included as part of the configuration information. At step 440, any hardware (e.g., central processing unit (CPU), disk, compact disk (CD), DVD, memory, modem, I/O, hardware element versions, or the like) or peripherals and software configurations (e.g., applications, drivers, browsers, directory structure, versions of software components, or the like) may be captured for inclusion in the configuration information, including any version information or manufacturer's ID. At step 445, information related to operating system product information and associated libraries may be captured as part of the configuration information.
At step 450, the security module may create and store on the user's computer a “cookie” or similar marker to record the date and time of the security scrutiny process. The cookie may be uniquely created for identifying a particular security check episode, and may include a digital signature of the application owner launching the security check. At step 455, the gathered security information (e.g. configuration information) may be encrypted, and optionally digitally signed with a signature of the application owner and transmitted to a server, application, or proxy application for possible correlation with any modem generated data. and cataloging for later recall if an attack subsequently occurs.
At optional step 460, the gathered security information (i.e., configuration information) may be retrieved and correlated to an attack incident (or other similar incident) and asserted against a possible attacker, as appropriate. At step 465, a subsequent security check may be performed on a suspect computer to obtain subsequent configuration data in order to match the retrieved information (i.e., information previously stored by an earlier security check) with the subsequent gathered configuration information data to establish a correlation and probability that the two sets of configuration data are derived from the same computer. This may involve matching corresponding portions of the configuration data from the two sets of data. A higher degree of confidence may be achieved as more portions of the two sets of data are matched, indicating that the two sets of data are likely from the same computer. This evidence may be used as necessary to enforce legal rights, or the like. The process exits at step 470.
While the invention has been described in terms of embodiments, those skilled in the art will recognize that the invention can be practiced with modifications and in the spirit and scope of the appended claims.
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|U.S. Classification||713/183, 726/2, 713/182|
|Cooperative Classification||G06F21/60, H04L63/10, H04L63/08, H04L63/1425, H04L63/0876|
|Jan 13, 2005||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORPORATION, NEW Y
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:ANDREEV, DMITRY;GRUNIN, GALINA;VILSHANKSY, GREGORY;REEL/FRAME:015589/0464
Effective date: 20040914